Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) has suggested she wants credit for the documented decline in U.S. abortions. But as Americans United for Life exposes in its report, “The Leviathan: How Planned Parenthood has Become Abortion, Inc.,” the abortion plan Richards engineered for her affiliates has nothing to do with less, and everything to do with more.
It is no accident that while abortions are down nearly everywhere in the country Planned Parenthood’s abortion business continues to grow. Planned Parenthood has a clear, intentional strategy to take over the U.S. abortion market.
Part of Planned Parenthood’s strategic shift includes building bigger facilities, “mega-centers” where technicians perform abortions at higher, deadlier rates. Since 2004, Planned Parenthood has opened these clinics, which are 10,000 square feet or greater in size, in at least 19 cities in 14 states.
More Abortions, Fewer Clients
Planned Parenthood’s mega-center roll-out has corresponded with bigger abortion numbers, bigger profits, and more taxpayer dollars—but at the same time, shrinking its overall number of clients and massive cuts to Planned Parenthood’s non-controversial, non-abortion services like cancer screenings.
The increase in abortions has been significant. In 2004, Planned Parenthood reported that its centers performed 255,015 abortions. In 2013, its centers performed 327,653 abortions—72,638 more than in 2004. That is roughly 200 more abortions each and every day.
While dramatically growing its abortion business, Planned Parenthood’s client base, as a whole, has stagnated and even declined. Planned Parenthood reported it saw 2,936,328 million clients at its centers in 2004. For several years, since 2007, PPFA’s annual reports made the vague claim that its centers served “nearly 3 million” patients. But PPFA’s most recent annual report estimates it saw only 2.7 million clients, a nearly 10 percent decline.
Taking those two trends together—more abortions and fewer overall patients—paints a compelling picture of where Planned Parenthood’s priorities lie. Compared to 2004, in 2013 Planned Parenthood centers saw about 650 fewer total patients each day, but performed 200 more abortions daily.
More Abortions, Less Health Care
During this era of mega-center expansion, abortion at Planned Parenthood is clearly on the rise both in terms of raw numbers and percentage of its overall operations. No matter how Planned Parenthood tries to reconfigure the way it counts “services” in an attempt to dupe the public into believing that abortion remains a mere 3 percent of what it does, the percentage of patients for which Planned Parenthood performed abortions demonstrably climbed from 8.7 percent in 2004 to, by its own admission, 12.1 percent in 2013.
On the chopping block at Planned Parenthood have been its non-controversial, non-abortion services like cancer screening and prevention. In stark contrast to its growing abortion business during the era of mega-center expansion, cancer screening and preventions services at Planned Parenthood centers have been cut by more than 50 percent.
That decline includes “breast exams/breast care” services, which have plummeted even after 2012, when Planned Parenthood not only successfully bullied the Susan G. Komen Foundation into lowering its standards to continue grants to Planned Parenthood’s centers but also reportedly raised over $3 million in three days because of the controversy. As evidence that abortion is intentionally its core focus for the future, PPFA issued a mandate to all of its affiliates that by January 2013 they either had to perform abortions or get out of Planned Parenthood.
But how has Planned Parenthood successfully grown its abortion business when national demand for its profitable “product” has steadily declined? Planned Parenthood has pushed many of its competitors out of the market. Its ability to open mega-centers and put unaffiliated clinics out of business has been enabled by Planned Parenthood’s tax-exempt status and its hefty taxpayer funding.
Planned Parenthood affiliates’ reported revenue from taxpayer dollars has increased from $272.7 million in its 2004-2005 fiscal year to an average of $536.6 million in each one of the past four years. According to PPFA’s most recently released annual report, 41 percent of Planned Parenthood’s $1.3 billion in revenue was at taxpayers’ expense.
With taxpayer dollars heavily subsidizing its operations, and with its tax-exempt status providing an additional competitive edge, Planned Parenthood is building towards an abortion monopoly. In 2004, Planned Parenthood clinics performed one out of every five abortions in the U.S. By 2011, the latest year for which national data is available, Planned Parenthood performed nearly one out of every three.
Richards wants to credit contraception and sex education for the national abortion decline to get her hands on more taxpayer dollars. But not only does data show that abortion has been declining while unintended pregnancies have risen, as AUL’s report shows, Planned Parenthood’s clear plans for its future are about more, not less, abortion.